Unraveling the Extragalactic Gamma-ray Sky in the Era of Fermi and VERITAS

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Date/Time:Wednesday, 18 Nov 2009 from 4:10 pm to 5:10 pm
Location:Physics, room 5
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Luis Reyes (University of Chicago/Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics)

The field of high-energy astrophysics is experiencing a revolution due to recent observations that have revealed a universe that is surprisingly rich, variable and complex at gamma-ray energies. This revolution has now switched into high gear with the launch of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the full-fledged operation of a new generation of ground-based instruments such as VERITAS, H.E.S.S. and MAGIC. Among the different classes of gamma-ray sources observed by these instruments, a particular subset of active galactic nuclei (AGN) known as blazars stand out as some of the most energetic and variable objects observed at any wavelength. In my talk I will describe how the complementary capabilities of space and ground-based instruments are leading us to a better understanding of gamma-ray blazars as high-energy sources, as a population, and as a cosmological tool to probe the background radiation known as extragalactic background light (EBL). Finally, I will discuss the important scientific return that a next-generation instrument such as AGIS would bring to the field of AGN astrophysics.

Biographical Info: Luis Reyes has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago since 2007. Before moving to the windy city, Luis worked as a graduate student at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD where he became actively involved with the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (formerly known as GLAST). In parallel with his work on the Fermi instrument, Luis became interested in the physics of gamma-ray blazars and their interaction with the extragalactic background light. Based on this work he received a PhD degree from the University of Maryland in 2007, and then moved to the University of Chicago where he joined the VERITAS collaboration. As member now of both Fermi and VERITAS, Luis has helped build a strong partnership between the two instruments in order to maximize their scientific return in the study of blazars and other gamma-ray sources.